The 5 most common mistakes on keto and low-carbohydrate diets

Low-carbohydrate diets are very popular and as a result there is a lot of information about them almost everywhere. However, not all information is completely correct or complete, and it is easy to make mistakes when dieting. In order to get the maximum dream results of a low-carb diet, it is not enough to reduce carbohydrate intake. Read on to find out what pitfalls may await you if you opt for one of the low-carb diet.

Taking in too much carbohydrates in your food

Different low-carbohydrate diets differ from each other primarily in the amount of carbohydrates they consume. To be a low-carbohydrate diet, you need to consume between 100-150g of carbohydrate per day.

This amount, for example, represents 3 medium-sized portions of cooked rice (about 180g) or 7 smaller bananas and is significantly lower than what the standard Western diet contains.

However, if your goal is to be in ketosis, i.e. following some version of the keto diet, your total carbohydrate intake should not exceed 50g, a third of a typical low-carbohydrate diet. Some extreme versions state that consuming carbohydrates in excess of 20-30 g per day can interrupt ketosis (the process of getting energy from fat). On the keto diet, therefore, there is no choice but to consume only fiber-rich vegetables and very limited amounts of berries.

Eating too much protein

Protein is a very important macronutrient that is often neglected, especially women often do not consume enough protein. Protein is also a great help on low-carb and keto diets, as it induces a feeling of fullness that lasts for a long time.

Even on other diets, increasing protein intake is one of the main factors in the resulting weight loss.

However, on low-carb diets, it is important not to overdo it with lean meats, which contain high amounts of protein. For example, 100g of roasted turkey breast contains 20g of protein. If you consume more protein than your body needs, a process called gluconeogenesis, the conversion of protein into glucose, occurs. This is then primarily converted into energy by the body and ketosis is avoided.

On a keto and low-carbohydrate diet, it is therefore recommended to stay within the range of 1.5-2.0 g per kilo of body weight. So if you weigh 80 kg, it is a good idea to consume 120-160 g of protein per day, which is equivalent to, for example, 600-800 g of grilled turkey breast.

Worrying about fats in food

Normally the human body gets its energy from carbohydrates, which are naturally represented in the Western diet by sugars and cereals. But on a keto and low-carbohydrate diet, this source of energy is kept to a minimum. Some people even restrict fats on low-carb diets, but this is a mistake.

On low-carbohydrate diets, it is necessary to compensate for the energy normally obtained from carbohydrates by increasing fat consumption.

Fats are another great aid in these diets as they induce a feeling of satiety, whereas insufficient fat consumption in low-carb diets can lead to malnutrition and hunger.

In particular, those diets that have a very limited daily carbohydrate intake should contain a high proportion of fats – it is reported that up to 70% of calories consumed on a keto diet should come from fat

. You should avoid trans fats (i.e. various margarines and saturated fats) and opt for unsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids instead. It is therefore a good idea to choose fattier cuts of meat and foods rich in healthy fats such as avocados, dairy products, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and olive or coconut oil.

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Suffering from sodium deficiency in the body

One of the main mechanisms of low-carbohydrate diets is to lower insulin levels in the blood. Insulin is responsible for many functions of the human body, such as telling fat cells to hold fat and/or the kidneys to hold sodium.

On the keto diet, insulin levels drop and the body starts to get rid of sodium – and water with it. This is one of the main reasons for the rapid weight loss in the first week or two of the diet, but it also gets rid of excessive bloating. However, sodium is an important electrolyte, and low levels and general dehydration of the body can lead to unpleasant side effects. These typically manifest as dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and even constipation.

So if you don’t normally salt your food too much, you can add a little salt to your meals on the keto diet, and it’s also a good idea to drink various broths that are rich in electrolytes.

You don’t give ketosis enough time to burn fat

Our body is set up to primarily burn carbohydrates, so it always prefers sugars as an energy source and not fats. Therefore, a drastic dietary change like the keto diet, aimed at getting the human body to primarily burn fat – whether from food or stored in fat cells – can have unexpected side effects.

Adaptation to a change in energy source is accompanied by the so-called “keto-flu” in most people. This occurs with ultra-low-carbohydrate diets such as the keto diet. This period can last several days – normally it takes 3-4 days for the body to adjust, and the overall adaptation takes several weeks. However, many people are caught off guard by this reaction of the body and quit the diet before it starts to work. In fact, fat burning starts after these few days.

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